Danske Bank has announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2016.
"Despite challenging financial markets and negative short-term interest rates, we had a satisfactory start to the year, which reflects the strength of our business model," says Thomas F. Borgen, Chief Executive Officer.
"The underlying business is robust, and we continued to improve the customer experience by introducing new and innovative solutions. We were able to attract new customers and to increase lending in a market characterised by moderate economic growth and relatively weak credit demand. We reduced costs further, while losses and impairments remained at a low level. Our capital position is solid, and this gives us a good platform for continued value creation for all stakeholders."
Highlights: 2015 vs 2014
- Danske Bank Group’s net profit for 2015 was DKK 13.1 billion (EUR 1,758.5 million). The result was affected by goodwill impairments of DKK 4.6 billion (EUR 616.5 million) (see company announcement No. 50 of 18 December 2015). Net profit before goodwill impairments rose 36% to DKK 17.7 billion (EUR 2,375.1 million), against DKK 13.0 billion (EUR 1,739.1 million) in 2014. The reasons for the improvement were higher activity, lower costs and considerably lower loan impairments.
- The return on shareholders’ equity after tax was 8.5%.The return before goodwill impairments was 11.6%, against 8.6% for 2014. This means that Danske Bank is getting closer to achieving its ambition of a return on equity above 12.5% in 2018 at the latest.
Total income came to DKK 44.2 billion (EUR 5,923.1 million), which was at the same level as in 2014.
- Net interest income was down 4% to DKK 21.5 billion (EUR 2,877.9 million). The negative short-term interest rates continued to put pressure on deposit margins and net interest income. Lending volume growth and lower funding costs partly offset this pressure.
- Net fee income totalled DKK 12.1 billion (EUR 1,624.4 million), which was 9% higher than the year-earlier level. The increase was due mainly to extensive mortgage refinancing in the first half of the year, stronger customer activity at the banking units and positive developments at Danske Capital.
- Net trading income increased 4% to DKK 6.9 billion (EUR 929.0 million) in 2015, even though 2014 benefited from a one-off gain from the sale of shares in Nets. In the first half of 2015, trading income benefited from high client activity owing to volatility in the financial markets, whereas activity in the second half was somewhat lower.
- Despite the higher customer activity, operating expenses were down 4% to DKK 21.8 billion (EUR 2,924.9 million). The cost/income ratio before goodwill impairments improved 2.1 percentage points to 49.4% as a result of continual efficiency initiatives and tight cost control.
- Loan impairments in core activities amounted to DKK 57 million (EUR 7.6 million), down 98%. The decline reflects our ongoing work to improve credit quality as well as improved macroeconomic conditions. This positive development took place at all business units.
- Non-core activities, which consists primarily of the Non-core Ireland portfolio, posted a profit before tax of DKK 46 million (EUR 6.2 million), against a loss of DKK 1.5 billion (EUR 201.9 million) in 2014.
- Total lending at 31 December 2015 was up 3% from the 2014 level. Lending was up at almost all banking units. Total deposits increased 7% from the level at 31 December 2014, with increases recorded in particular at Corporates & Institutions.
During the year, we improved our ratings and thus met our strategic target for 2015. As a result of the improved ratings, we are able to further reduce our funding costs.
Capital position, dividends and share buy-back programme:
The common equity tier 1 capital ratio and the total capital ratio were 16.1% and 21.0%, respectively, against 15.1% and 19.3% at 31 December 2014. On the basis of Danske Bank's strong capital position, the Board of Directors proposes a dividend of DKK 8.0 per share, corresponding to 46% of net profit before goodwill impairments.
In addition, the Board of Directors has decided to initiate a share buy-back programme of DKK 9 billion (EUR 1,206 million) in 2016. The purpose of the share buy-back programme is to adjust the share capital to better reflect Danske Bank’s capital targets. The share buy-back programme is described in more detail in company announcement No. 1 of today’s date.
Outlook for 2016
We expect the net profit for 2016 to be in line with the net profit before goodwill impairments in 2015.